Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Opinion: The House is Crumbling in Ukraine

Photo Credit: Fadel SENNA (AFP)

It's not about cheerleading: These are facts.

Russia has "escalation dominance" in that part of the world and will prevail under any and all circumstances of war.

It is inhumane for the West to have prolonged the initial civil war by duping Russia and the Russian-speaking Donbas population into signing the Minsk Peace Accords as a ruse to build up the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Since the Russian intervention, assorted weapons supplied to the Ukrainians have been announced as "game changers": Stinger missiles, HIMARS rocket launchers and now German Leopard tanks.

But put aside the false propaganda of an "incompetent" Russian military and over 100,000 Russian soldiers lost and the reality is that much of the Ukrainian Army has been destroyed and cannot be rebuilt overnight.

Russia has sustained losses and continues to do so but at a much lower rate than Ukraine.

Artillery is king and many Ukrainian soldiers have been wiped out in this way. Further compounding the Ukrainian losses is their tactic of battling to hold on to territory. When army units are destroyed or severely debilitated, more reserves (the equivalent of National Guardsmen) are simply sent in to suffer the same fate.

The Russians have conducted several withdrawals such as in Kherson which the Ukrainian and Western media have been quick to call "defeats", but which have been conducted in an orderly fashion with minimal loss of life and equipment.

You get the picture?

While the Ukrainians are seemingly obsessed with the optics of gaining or holding onto territory, Russian manoeuvre warfare is more concerned with annihilating the opposing army.

Incidentally, most of the Russian Army is not involved as the coalition force fighting to remove Ukrainian forces from the Donbas are majoritively composed of Donbas militia (Luhansk and Donetsk), Chechens and the Wagner Group.

The forced resignation of Oleksiy Arestovych who spoke the truth about a Ukrainian defence missile hitting a Russian offensive missile as the cause of the destruction of a building in Dnipro along with his admission that Ukraine has been losing the war may be a turning point when Ukrainian officials start jumping ship.

Many are corrupt and will flee to various destinations in Western Europe and North America in the very near future.

This conflict was an unnecessary one and those with the greatest responsibility are those insane US neoconservative ideologues enmeshed in an unholy alliance with Ukrainian neo-Nazis and ultranationalists who have deliberately prodded the Russian bear.

And as was the case with Afghanistan, the greed of the military industry, and corrupt US politicians and their families (Joe and Hunter Biden primary among them) has also underpinned the relationship with Ukraine since 2014. It has involved a great transfer of wealth from American taxpayers to defence contractors and the looting of Ukraine's resources by US corporate interests.

The propagandised "war for democracy" against the "belligerent dictator" Putin is a sham of which many are increasingly becoming aware.

Don't believe me? You will soon enough when the United States government abandons the Ukrainians just as they abandoned the Kurds in Syria, "Moderate" Afghans in Afghanistan and the South Vietnamese in the mid-1970s.

In the meantime sit back and watch as the Atlantic Alliance (backed by the corrupt EU) fights Russia to the last Ukrainian.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2023).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Thursday, 5 January 2023

Dada and the Dictator

Dada Maravilha with General Emilio Medici

Dada Maravilha was notoriously favoured by the head of the Brazilian military dictatorship General Emilio Medici who told Brazil's manager Joao Saldanha, a socialist who was against the right-wing junta, to bring Dada Maravilha into the national squad.

Saldanha told the press that just as he did not tell Medici how to run the country, he would run the Brazilian national team without interference.

Saldanha was forced out under the pretext of player unrest (there was some truth to this because of his hardline managerial style) and Mario Zagalo took his place.

Dada Maravilha was included in the squad which went to Mexico, but he did not feature in the 1970 World Cup.

NB.

Dada Maravilha (real name Dario José dos Santos) is not to be confused with the Flamengo striker João Batista de Sales better known as "Fio Maravilha", who inspired the song of his name written by Jorge Ben.




"Always keep Ithaca in your mind. To arrive there is your ultimate goal."

As you set out for Ithaka

hope your road is a long one,

full of adventure, full of discovery.

Laistrygonians, Cyclops,

angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:

you’ll never find things like that on your way

as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,

as long as a rare excitement

stirs your spirit and your body.

Laistrygonians, Cyclops,

wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them

unless you bring them along inside your soul,

unless your soul sets them up in front of you.


Hope your road is a long one.

May there be many summer mornings when,

with what pleasure, what joy,

you enter harbours you’re seeing for the first time;

may you stop at Phoenician trading stations

to buy fine things,

mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

sensual perfume of every kind—

as many sensual perfumes as you can;

and may you visit many Egyptian cities

to learn and go on learning from their scholars.


Keep Ithaka always in your mind.

Arriving there is what you’re destined for.

But don’t hurry the journey at all.

Better if it lasts for years,

so you’re old by the time you reach the island,

wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,

not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.


Ithaka gave you the marvellous journey.

Without her you wouldn't have set out.

She has nothing left to give you now.


And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.

Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,

you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.


© C. P. Cavafy.





Saturday, 31 December 2022

He served: Corporal Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pele) of the Brazilian Army on sentry duty during his national military service

Private Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pele) on sentry duty. PHOTO: Revista Militar de 1960.

Pele was a veteran of the Brazilian Army, doing his military service in the 6th GAC (Santos Motor Artillery Group) in the late 1950s.

During his national service Pele played for:

.  his barracks team and

. the Brazilian army team.

He won two tournaments for the barracks team:

. The one for barracks in Santos and

. The one for the barracks of Sao Paulo.

He represented the Brazilian armed forces in the 1959 South American Military Championship in which Brazil faced the Argentine team in the final. Pele scored the decisive goal in a 2-1 victory to crown Brazil the South American champion of the Armed Forces.

Pele was sent off for the first time in his career for attacking an Argentinean player.

Pele also donned an army uniform in his appearance in the 1980 movie "Escape to Victory". He played the role of Corporal Luis Fernandez. His co-stars included the Hollywood stars Michael Caine and Sylvester Stallone, as well as fellow footballers Bobby Moore, Osvaldo Ardiles, and Kazimierz Deyna.

Descanse em paz, O Rei!

© Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Thursday, 29 December 2022

Translated Arabic Short Version of a letter from Ottoman officials to Emperor Idris Alooma of Kanem-Bornu

Part of a series of letters sent from the Ottoman Empire to Mai Idris Alooma of Kanem-Bornu in around 1577.

This is the "Short Arabic Version".

Source: "Mai Idris of Bornu and the Ottoman Turks, 1576-78" by B. G. Martin in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 3, No. 4 (October 1972), pp. 470-490. Published by Cambridge University Press.

NB.

Translated Arabic Short Version of a letter from Ottoman officials to Emperor Idris Alooma in the paper "Mai Idris of Bornu and the Ottoman Turks, 1576-78":

“This is our noble, sublime, and sultan-like letter, our exalted, high, and khaqan-like message-may it continue to be effective and command obedience in [all] regions and districts, with the helpful assistance of the Unseen Benefactor! We have despatched it to the honourable person of amir's rank, the most great, the most noble, the most imposing, the most magnificent, glorious and perfect, the most eminent, the Imam-like and heroic, the patron of the ghazis and the participants in the Holy War, the upholder of kings and sultans, the person designed to receive a superabundance of divine favour, MALIK IDRIS, at present the wali of the wilaya of Bornu-May the Almighty prolong his happiness and make his endeavour successful by right guidance! Let him accept [our] best greetings and high praise!

[You] should be aware that your noble letter has arrived at our sublime threshold, where mighty sultans take refuge, and to which distinguished khaqans vaunt their connection, by the hand of your messenger, the exemplary and prominent al-Hajji... '-may his rank be raised! And he has explained to our lofty and illustrious presence what it contains of extreme friendliness, and an intensification of the sincere good will [existing between us]. He has mentioned your request that the bases of sincere friendship be reinforced, and the foundation of true amity strengthened, and that whosoever wishes among the goers  and comers of the population of your domains should pass into our wilaya, including merchants and visitors, so that [such traffic] may become a cause of the perfection of [our reciprocal] esteem, and an inducement to the growth of union and harmony.

[As to] what there is in addition to the matters [you have] mentioned, and the requests which remain, it has become clear and evident, and fully comprehended by our noble intellect, which has grasped the details of information [which you have supplied], both in quantity and in quality. Hence it should be known and understood by you, that our exalted and khaqan-line thresholds and our high and sultan-like portals are opened wide to the faces of friends and enemies, nor do we turn away loved ones and sincere friends who have taken refuge there. Indeed, our noble decrees and illustrious commands have reached our excellent governors, who guard the frontier fortresses and halting places, the protectors of all watering places and stages of the journey, not to hinder the coming of merchants and visitors, nor to prevent the entry into our well-guarded realms, of believers and well-intentioned persons.

And your aforementioned messenger has informed us of your petition, addressed to our noble person, that the fortress known as Quran should be ceded to you. You are well aware that it is not one of the precepts of our mighty forefathers, nor the custom of our generous ancestors, to cede any part of the citadels which have been in their hands, nor a foot's breadth of the lands and territories which have come under their rule, and which they have administered. Had it not been for this point, the thing claimed would have been handed over legally, for we have discovered that our mighty [ancestors] followed this same scheme.

On receiving our noble letter, you must continue to restrain the regions under your rule, to protect the frontiers, and to guard the existing fortresses within the compass of your wilaya, and make the greatest efforts, as is expected of you, [for your] aim is the regulation of the affairs of the poor and unfortunate, and the termination of the business of all travellers, following the utterance of the Almighty: 'Truly, the believers are brothers, so set matters aright among your brethren' [Qur'an, xLIX, io], and the hadith of the Chief of the Prophets-on whom the purest of blessings!-'All believers are brothers.' So be in accord with the peoples of these lands, the villages, and those who are in your districts from among the generality of the subjects and the entirety of mankind, and all the amirs, inasmuch as war and combat are inevitable. And if you require aid and assistance, supplies and support, it is incumbent on you to inform the amirs of  those regions and the walis of those districts and countries, so that they may set aside [supplies] for you, and make efforts on your behalf, and employ the greatest zeal and exertion [for you], and defend you and the rest of the land through good understanding and the most faultless harmony [against] the harmful tricks of the enemies of religion, and the cunning of the foes of the revealed.”

© Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.

Wednesday, 21 December 2022

Captain Reuben James Rawe: Veteran of the Normandy Landings and Nigerian Naval Pioneer

Commander Reuben James Rawe walks behind Commodore J.E.A. Wey, the Nigerian Chief of Naval Staff, during a passing out parade of one hundred non-commissioned naval personnel in April 1967 (Still from a Reuters newsreel).

I have always wanted to piece together a sketch of the career of Reuben James Rawe, an expatriate English naval officer of whom I had only the skimpiest of memories from my childhood in Nigeria. But the memories have been lightened in recent years as I discovered old newsreel footage to do with the Nigerian Navy, an organisation within which my Father made a career and of which Rawe helped develop from its early years. Rawe, I have since discovered, was a participant in the Normandy invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe, as well as a ship’s commander during the Nigerian Civil War. He also won a libel action against a prominent author who had referred to him in a book as a “swashbuckling mercenary.” In 2016, at age 90, Rawe was among the ever-decreasing number of World War 2 veterans who were honoured for their roles in the D-Day landings by receiving the Legion d'honneur medal.

The earliest record that I have of Reuben James Rawe is among the names of temporary Midshipmen contained in a list provided by the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (RNVR). A Midshipman is the lowest rank of an officer, and Rawe, who would have been at least eighteen at the time, has his date of entry as January 20th, 1944. Less than five months later, First Lieutenant Rawe would serve as the navigating officer on a Mark IV Landing Craft Tank (LCT 977) during the D-Day landings of June 6, 1944. His vessel had been earmarked to land at Utah Beach, a task that was fraught with great obstacles amid the chaos of war. He offered the following recollection to the National Museum of the Royal Navy in 2018:

As dawn broke, we moved to our allocated area. We had a Battalion of HQ Company of the US 12th Infantry on board commanded by a Colonel Luckett. As the first waves of troops started their dash to the beach the Colonel got reports of how easy it was but the beach control party had made a mistake. We were landing in the wrong place, between the beaches scheduled as Utah and Omaha. When we got to the final departure point 1000yds from the beach, landing was temporarily stopped. The beach was coming under heavy fire, but the Colonel decided he had to get in and find out what was happening. I heard later that out of the 180 men we landed, only 27 survived the first 14 days and Colonel Luckett took over command of the Division as the senior surviving Officer.

A photograph taken of Rawe soon after his return to Portsmouth from Normandy in HM LCT 1051 appeared in the Portsmouth Evening News.

Rawe stayed on in the Royal Navy until 1955 when he opted to find employment with the naval force of the British colony of Nigeria. The role of a naval officer in West Africa is one which appealed to some about-to-retire British naval officers and others who aspired to nautical careers. The young Graham Greene for one nursed alternate ambitions after completing his degree at Oxford University. One was to join the colonial service, while the other was to join the “Nigerian Navy.”

In the 1920s, the yet to be constituted Nigerian Naval Force was known as the colonial Marine Department of the Royal Navy which in 1959 was redesignated as the Royal Nigerian Navy. By 1960, the year Nigeria would obtain its independence from Britain, the nascent navy had few Indigenous officers. In his 2019 paper titled “Historicizing the Development and Intensification of the Nigerian Navy between 1956-1958” for the International Journal of History and Cultural Studies, Dr. William Abiodun Duyile notes that the navy had one Nigerian officer in the executive branch, three in the engineering branch and five in the supply branch. “The rest of the officers were retired Royal Navy officers.”

As was the case with the Nigerian Army, independence brought with it a policy of rapid “Nigerianisation.” But the necessity of foreign input through the secondments and training teams provided by Britain and India was a given. As a “military brat” I came to know some of these figures, officers such as Captain Ian Wright and Commodore M.P. Singh who were around in the 1970s. Prior to them was Captain James Rawe.

Rawe appeared not to be merely an expatriate on secondment but in fact, an integrated member of the more or less fully indigenised naval force which had dropped the “Royal” prefix when the nation became a republic in 1963. His promotions were announced alongside Nigerian Navy promotions within the Nigerian government's official gazette. For instance, he was promoted to the rank of Substantive Captain in June 1969 on the same day that Nelson Soroh was promoted to Substantive Commodore. This, incidentally, was the same day that my Father was promoted to Substantive Lieutenant Commander along with Ebenge Okpo and Alfred Diete-Spiff, the military governor of the old Rivers State.

Also, whereas British military officers recommended to receive medals on the British honours system were referred to as been “on loan to the government of the Federation of Nigeria”, the award of Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.) to Lieutenant Commander Rawe at the beginning of 1964 referred to him as an officer of the Royal Nigerian Navy, while the 1967 award of the Ordinary Officer of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order (O.B.E.) to Commander Rawe referred to him as an officer of the Nigerian Navy.

Newsreel clips capture Rawe’s service at various official and ceremonial engagements usually shadowing the Chief of Naval Staff, Commodore (later Vice Admiral) J.E.A. Wey, to whom my Father served as Flag Lieutenant. There is film of Rawe as part of the entourage greeting Lord Mountbatten, then the Chief of the Defence Staff, while on a visit to Nigeria in October 1964. Another piece of footage shows Rawe accompanying Wey during a passing out parade of a hundred non-commissioned naval personnel in April 1967, and in October 1968, Rawe was part of the ceremony surrounding the award of the Nigerian Navy its first colours by the head of the Federal Military Government Major General Yakubu Gowon.

But Rawe’s tasks were more than ceremonial. He engaged in steering the development of the military capabilities of the navy during politically volatile circumstances of the 1960s. Although the navy was not involved in the violent uprisings of January and July 1966 which were the fruit of conspiracies within the army, the navy gave legitimacy to the military governments formed respectively by Major General J.T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi and Lieutenant Colonel Yakubu Gowon.

With its personnel largely drawn from the south of the country, the navy was not subject to the intense rivalry between army officers and men from the Eastern Region and the Northern Region. Nonetheless, the wider tensions in the country brought about a policy of separating sailors of Igbo origin who began to be suspected of planning a mass defection to the about-to-secede Eastern Region. Acts of sabotage were committed on onshore equipment, as well as on electrical and electronic equipment on almost all the ships in April 1967, with most Igbo personnel defecting that month.

Commander Rawe was involved in the commencement of and the maintaining of the naval blockade instituted by Federal Nigeria against the secessionist state of Biafra which was headed by the former military governor of the Eastern Region Lieutenant Colonel Chukwuemeka Ojukwu. He took command of NNS Penelope, a survey ship, which performed reconnoitring duties. And given his experience during the Normandy Landings, it is likely that he would have been a key advisor to Lt. Colonel Benjamin Adekunle, Commander of the Third Infantry Division, prior to the seaborne assault on the oil terminal town of Bonny. The subsequent amphibious landing in July 1967 was the first of its kind ever to be attempted by African troops.

Rawe was awarded a series of medals for his services between 1966 and 1970. They include the General Service Medal, the National Service Medal, and the Defence Service Medal. He would also receive the Tenth Anniversary of the Republic Medal, the Independence Medal, and the Forces Service Star Medal.

Rawe retired from the Nigerian Navy in 1970. The Official Gazette of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (No.46/Vol.57, published in August 1970) records his leaving the employ of the Ministry of Defence on March 25th 1970. On returning to England, he joined the Probation Service in Oxfordshire in the early part of 1971. The Justice of the Peace (Vol.135/Iss.47-53, Page 847) records his appointment as the Principal Probation Officer at Henley Magistrates' Court. 

In April 1974, Captain Rawe won damages and costs from the author John de St. Jorre and Hodder and Stoughton Publishers. De St. Jorre’s book, The Nigerian Civil War which had been published in 1972, suggested that Rawe “walked around with a heavy pistol strapped to his thigh”. The implication that he was a soldier of fortune, or as the Sunday Telegraph report of Tuesday, April 30th, 1974, put it “a swashbuckling mercenary", offended Rawe who showed the court that he had been a member of the Royal Nigerian Navy and the successor Nigerian Navy for many years prior to the war. He was represented by the barrister Leon Brittan, who later became a prominent Tory government minister during the administration of Margaret Thatcher.

He has lived a long life and it must have been personally gratifying for him to have received the Legion d'honneur medal from Sylvie Bermann, the French Ambassador to Britain, a few days before the 72nd anniversary of D-Day, during a ceremony at the French embassy in Kensington, London.

It would be an honour and a delight to speak with him if he is still alive.

© Adeyinka Makinde (2022).

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.



Wednesday, 14 December 2022

YouTube has removed my appearance on RT's Worlds Apart titled "Impeding by misleading?"


Unbelievable! 

YouTube has removed my appearance on RT's Worlds Apart which I uploaded onto my channel.

No strike against my channel.

I will be appealing.

This is a blow to free speech and the Enlightenment values to which I referred at one point during my interview with Oksana Boyko which was titled "Impeding by misleading?"

I challenge anyone who espouses the mainstream narrative to a debate on any specific issue of fact or analysis which I proferred during the interview.

I cannot understand why YouTube can be allowed to circumvent the free and fair exchange of ideas which for an American registered company amounts to an abrogation of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America.

We are living in Orwellian times.

NB.

My interview can be viewed on the following platforms:

. Rumble

. Odysee

Full message:

"We wanted to let you know our team reviewed your content, and we think it violates our Community Guidelines. We know you may not have realized this was a violation of our policies, so we're not applying a strike to your channel. However, we have removed the following content from YouTube:

Video: Adeyinka Makinde Interview | RT | Worlds Apart | Impeding by misleading? | December 2022

We realize this may be disappointing news, but it's our job to make sure that YouTube is a safe place for all. If you think we've made a mistake, you can appeal this decision - you'll find more details below.

What our policy says

Content that violates YouTube's Terms of Service or that encourages others to do so is not allowed on YouTube. This includes posting content previously removed for violating our Terms of Service; or posting content from creators who are currently restricted or have been terminated under our Terms."

© Adeyinka Makinde

Adeyinka Makinde is a writer and law lecturer with an interest in history and geopolitics. He is based in London, England.